Think you’re driving away with a cheap car online? You may want to think again.
Professionals are warning customers to watch out for suspicious vehicles advertised on the net.
Tampered odometers and hidden ride offs are amongst many risks associated with buying a second hand car through a private sale.
Approaching her 18th birthday, student Sophie Houghton was eager to cash in on a new set of wheels, however very quickly discovered nothing is exactly as they seem.
“I quickly learnt that if a deal is too good to be true, it’s too good to be true!!” she said.
“After doing many trips with my dad to look at cars all over Melbourne I soon came to the realisation that you cannot trust people and there are many people out there looking to rip you off!”
During her months of searching Melbourne for a suitable car, Sophie thought she had found a winner with a Hyundai ix35 in Narre Warren.
Impeccable from the outside and spotless within, it appeared a perfect vehicle.
However after a little more digging around, her suspicions grew and she quickly put the brakes on her bargain purchase.
“[Dad and I] searched the inside of the car and could not see a service book, so we could not confirm the car had been serviced up to date… We also noticed the car had a handful of new number plates put on it when the car was a 2012 model,” she said.
“After going away and looking up the car’s full history report we found out that this car was in fact a repairable write off which had been involved in a major accident.”
“I’m so glad we got out of that one.”
While shopping online for a perfect car is common, professionals say you can never be too careful before making the final sale.
A spokesman from CarSales.Com acknowledged the associated risks, and ensures the website is dedicated to customers driving away safe and happy.
“At CarSales, we’re dedicated to keeping our buyers and sellers safe. We’ve invested in sophisticated fraud technology that reviews all private ads and enquiries before publication or release,” he said.
“If we become aware of a fraudulent transaction involving a user of the CarSales website, we immediately contact the police and relevant authorities and work with them.”
He also said there are methods in place to ensure customers don’t run out of gas.
These include a trust and safety team, an email and phone hotline and buying safety guide.